Early Injuries Testing Flyers Depth at Center

NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets at Philadelphia Flyers
Oct 26, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers right wing Claude Giroux (28) celebrates win against the Columbus Blue Jackets with right wing Kevin Hayes (13) at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the 2019-20 season, the Flyers were supposed to be incredibly deep at the center position. Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, Nolan Patrick, & Scott Laughton were the starting centers for the Flyers. The Phantoms had guys like Morgan Frost, German Rubtsov, even Mikhail Vorobyev waiting in the wings.

What ensued was a bit of a headache, pun intended.

Nolan Patrick was diagnosed with a migraine disorder. To this day, fans still don’t know when to expect the 2017 second overall pick back in the lineup. Scott Laughton injured his hand October 26th against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

It’s gotten to the point where Claude Giroux has been tasked with moving back to center to make up for the lack of depth. The Flyers have resorted to bringing up the aforementioned Vorobyev, and now Rubtsov, to try and fill the bottom 6 center roles.

Again, starting the season, the Flyers had a solid group down the middle. Injuries, however, have shown that beyond the initial depth, there isn’t much after that.

The last remaining candidate to be called up is Morgan Frost. While starting the season point-less in three games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, he’s come on as of late in a big way. Frost has nine points in his last seven games. He’s in the midst of a seven-game point streak. Is it time to give the kid a crack at the NHL?

With the uncertainty surrounding Nolan Patrick’s condition, it may not be out of the realm of possibility. It hinges on Flyers captain Claude Giroux as well. If Alain Vigneault likes what he sees out of Giroux while playing center, Frost likely remains a Phantom. If he doesn’t, and Patrick’s future remains murky, Frost could get a look with the Flyers.

Scott Laughton figures to be back within 3 weeks, so the long-term outlook for a Frost call-up may be bleak. However, if Giroux slides back to wing, it just might be the move needed to accommodate Morgan Frost potentially at 3C.

For now, the Flyers are tasked with getting healthy up the middle. Laughton coming back will be a big help. Nolan Patrick slotting back into the lineup would also be a welcome addition, but unlikely right now. Whatever the Flyers do, they know that they have a hot hand in Lehigh Valley, making his case for an NHL roster spot.

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports